Bates was selected by the BC Lions in the 2001 CFL Draft (4th round, 32nd overall). In 2004, he missed 7 games to a knee injury and started 11 games. In 2005, Bates started all 18 games including the West Division Championship. In 2006, he again started all 18 regular season games, the western final, and the 94th Grey Cup. Bates was blamed by team-mates for breaking the Grey Cup after BC won it in 2006. He has been a starter on the team since 2003.